The Quilted Squirrel

The TQS Blog

2021 marketing trends and predictions

Now that 2020 is over and done with,

it’s finally time to get psyched for a new year, new schools of thought, new opportunities, new this, new that, new new new. What sort of newness can we expect from a marketing perspective? We polled the TQS staff to see what’s up for the future.

The Ultimate Customer Experience

According to a poll by SuperOffice, a customer experience cloud platform, the number one business priority among business professionals will be customer experience. With 45.9% of the vote among the 1,920 workers businesspeople surveyed, customer experience is edging out pricing and products as a top priority. As the report points out:

• “86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience”
• “Customers stay loyal with companies due to the experience they receive”
• “If you cannot keep up with their increasing demands, your customers will leave you”

Here’s what our own staffers have to say about the importance of providing the ultimate customer experience.

Lisa Hinterberger
Graphic Designer
I believe we’ll see a surge in content marketing, which will call for people, brands, and businesses to create meaningful content that users can relate to or benefit from more than ever before. I think a good example of this is what The Quilted Squirrel is doing for one of our new clients, GCLIProw, which is working on an all-new shoe-clip system for indoor and outdoor rowers. Rather than just designing a site that drives people to purchase a product, we’re taking the time to explain why this shoe-clip system is top-notch, what the benefits are to both the consumer and the community, and how it can change the rowing game forever. People want to trust a product they believe in, not just for themselves but for others.

Steve Lingle
CEO
I think as we come out of the pandemic, you’ll see more and more brands look to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships with their customers. It’s not enough anymore to simply offer the best price, the latest deal, or even the coolest gadget. Customers want to see themselves in the brands and products they support, and marketing initiatives need to be positioned to make those connections. The long-term benefit of a customer-for-life built on mutually shared values far outweighs the short-term benefit of a quick sale based on price and promotion. I think you’ll see more companies recognize that as they re-examine their approach, post-pandemic.

Authentic Storytelling. Meaningful Connections.

Particularly for small businesses, startups, and even individual entrepreneurs, authentic storytelling and empathy will be key two components to sharing brand stories in 2021. Yes, this will be true for bigger businesses, too, but creating, implementing, or scaling these concepts will likely be easier for smaller organizations. According to an article by business.com, COVID-19 is teaching us that our brands have “a better chance of engaging with customers” when we “infuse elements of authentic storytelling and empathy” into our marketing strategies “right now.”

Who among the TQS team agrees? Most of us—if not all of us—but Stephanie and Chris most of all.

Stephanie Danielsson
Business Development Manager
One of my favorite overall trends for the year is **AUTHENTICITY**. It’s really nothing new, but this year more than ever we’ve seen brands—and their ambassadors—showcase their human side a bit more. Being authentic builds trust, creates buy-in, and allows audiences to relate to a brand on a deeper level, beyond pricing and feature lists.

Chris White
Creative Director
I want to mention “storytelling,” but that’s not really new… or a trend… it’s just good marketing. Actually, perhaps it is a bit of trend, though, since it does seem like it’s being used in marketing more and more in recent years. While stories aren’t always the best fit for all clients or campaigns, they do help some brands make a stronger emotional connection with their audience—if done well, of course. I guess this also lends itself to that “authenticity” element Stephanie was talking about.

Innovative Technologies

We’ve all done the Zoom calls, the Google Meets, the Microsoft Teams, the whatever. But how many high-quality virtual events have you attended or hosted? According to an article by Forbes, “Digital business pivots may become more permanent.” The problem, though, will be having enough firepower to keep up.

How can we prepare for a potentially permanent pivot? Here’s what our dudes Tyler and Jerry have to say.

Tyler McElhaney
Graphic Designer
If 2020 showed us anything, it’s that virtual events can be hugely effective—even for local businesses looking to drive engagement, brand awareness, and loyalty. I think that these types of tactics will only expand this year, which will require marketers to invest in tech-savvy creatives who are capable of providing fully functional online experiences in real time. As virtual events and digital content take precedence among consumers and content providers, marketing teams will need to be prepared with the skills needed to accommodate and execute.

Jerry Lee
Marketing Strategist
Video, specifically as a subset of content marketing, will prove to be a top-of-mind tactic for marketers in 2021. Short, informative videos have been rolling lately, and even a handful of videos can gain thousands of followers in no time—especially when its content serves a purpose within a greater plan, such as general branding and storytelling.

Social Media Ups and Downs

In his article at Financial Express, Abhik Santara acknowledges the promise and pitfalls of paid social. “As long as we’re hyper-focused on matching our content to the audience’s interest, this could be the most seamless way to inject our brand into our target audience’s consciousness.” On the flipside, though, an overabundance of social media platforms can muddy the waters for marketers. “With so many channels available, and many companies have tried to stay relevant on all of them, the need to declutter is almost pervasive. Reducing social media channels to only the most relevant will not only be popular but necessary.”

Our final two contributors, Emily and James, share similar sentiments.

Emily Olek
Account Executive
Damnit, I was gonna say authenticity! I’ll go with decluttering social media. It used to be that every single brand “needed” to be on the big social media sites, namely Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But now there are so many different social media sites that cater to different audiences, so brands are starting to be much more intentional in their approach. For example, Facebook users are much different than TikTok users, so where we used to rewrite the same content for different platforms, we will start forming content for one or two platforms only. Instead of just checking social media off our marketing to-do list, savvy marketers will pinpoint specific social media sites to interact with their audience.

James Colombo
Copywriter & Content Strategist
I’d like to see copywriting and content strategies get as weird as possible without detracting from meaningful missions, visions, and values. Brands that take themselves too seriously will flounder among a new generation of people who desperately want to celebrate—and be celebrated for—unique differentiators, diversity, acceptance, and good vibes in general. We will likely see a shift (if we haven’t already) from emails and websites as main points of contact to face-first streaming straight from social media sites. Our clicks and likes and shares—and all the content that is driven from those—will (continue to?) permeate our consciousnesses until we (d)evolve into semi-sentient cyborgs that are fueled solely by the faces and flavors with which we are infatuated.

What about you?

What do you think about the future state of marketing trends, topics, and tactics? Let us know on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Until then, be sure to hit us up for an extra set of helping hands as you roll into 2021.

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